Posted by: Jan | October 31, 2018

A Summary of Tunnel Construction Issues


It seems there are so many issues and impacts from the Delta Tunnel (California WaterFix) construction project, it’s hard to keep track. But they are all important and all are significant. What’s more, they are all more destructive because of the ill-thought-out choice of tunnel routes: Through the heart of the sensitive estuary instead of around it. Through the middle of the “Delta as a Place” that is supposed to be protected, according to the Delta Reform Act and the Legislature.

NOTE: This is a work in progress. I’ll continue to add references and links over time.

So, focusing on construction issues alone, here’s a list and reference to any article(s) or blog(s) that describe it more fully (in random order of importance):

  1. Tunneling through the soft alluvial soils found in the Delta is risky
  2. Testimony of Tunneling Expert Tom Williams. Note he states: “The construction of two forty foot diameter, 40 mile long tunnels in soft wet sedimentary and peat soils is a significant engineering challenge”. DWR picked the wrong route!
  3. Tunneling under the main shipping channel is risky
  4. Tunneling through the Rio Vista gas fields WaterFix Tunnel through Gas Fields/Wells. (Note: Seventeen construction workers died when Metropolitan tunneled through a gas field building their Castaic tunnel some years ago).
  5. Tunneling through soft soils found in the Delta is a risk to our levees. NOTE: DWR recognized the risk when they moved the tunnel alignment to not go under levees maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers. They didn’t want to try to meet standards the ACOE sets for their levees.
  6. Tunneling under the Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad trestle (carrying freight and Amtrak trains) Amtrak
    Yep – that’s the plan. Tunneling through the soft Delta soils right under the train pilings.
  7. Barge docks and barges throughout the waterway making boating and recreation untenable:
  8. Affects of shutting down boating and recreation on Delta marinas and communities
  9. Impact from 24×7 construction trucks on Delta highways (mostly rural 2-lane levee roads)
  10. Impact of construction trucks on Highway 4 between Brentwood/Discovery Bay and Stockton
  11. Raising the Old River Bridge 8 times/day on Highway 4 just east of Discovery Bay
  12. Road damage from 24×7 construction trucks: KCRA Road Impact Video
  13. Farmers in the Delta unable to get their produce to market when all Delta roads are gridlocked
  14. Ruining the historical town of Locke – built by Chinese immigrants in 1913
  15. Impacts to Clarksburg and Courtland and the people living there
  16. Impacts to Hood and the people living there:
  17. Impacts to Bethel Island and the people living there. Bethel Island is a small Delta island community surrounded by 30-40 marinas, restaurants, and other businesses servicing the Delta boating and fishing community. It is located next to Franks Tract – a State Recreation Area and primary bass fishing locale for all of Northern California, bringing in bass fishing tournaments and tourists to Bethel Island and the Delta. Franks Tract is under consideration by the State to fill in with dirt and dams. See
  18. Impacts to Discovery Bay and the people living there
  19. Impacts to Boating and Recreation throughout the Delta
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